Political Memorabilia, Documents On Display At Library

Monday, October 15, 2012

“Red, White, and Blue, and Recorded: Collecting and Preserving Politics in Tennessee Archives” is this year’s theme for Tennessee Archives Month.  In recognition of this October event and the upcoming Presidential election, the Chattanooga Public Library is displaying political memorabilia and historical documents housed in its archives.  Items will be displayed now through Nov. 30 in the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Downtown Library.

The Chattanooga Public Library has over 25 collections containing the words and ideas of those in the political arena.  Manuscripts contain speeches, opinions, campaign slogans, buttons, letters, and photographs of those who maintained the courts, wrote laws, and affected communities. The library’s archives include signatures of famous leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Al Gore, and Estes Kefauver.   Preserving and providing access to the works of these men is the domain and purpose of the archives.  

Library collections include:
David McKendree Key (1824-1900) 

David McKendree Key was a Chattanooga lawyer and judge; Confederate army officer; United States Senator; and U. S. Postmaster General.  The library has both personal and professional papers of Judge Key.  The earliest items pertain to Key’s law practice and to his service in the army during the Civil War.  His papers from 1872-1880 include messages to Key from Washington officials and Key’s letters concerning his experience in the Capital.  Key served as Postmaster General from 1877-1880, the first former Confederate to serve in a U. S. Cabinet.  

Henry Clay Evans (1843-1922)

H. Clay Evans was a prominent Chattanoogan who came to the city after the Civil War.  His business involved the iron industry.  His political career ran from city alderman to Chattanooga mayor (1882-1886) to U. S. Congressman (1889-1891) to U. S. Commissioner of Pensions (1897-1902) to U. S. Consul to London (1902-1905) and finally back to Chattanooga as Commissioner of Education.  Evans ran for Tennessee governor as a Republican in 1894 and won the popular vote but lost the position when the Tennessee legislature selected his opponent Peter Turney in the contested election.  His papers include clippings, correspondence, and programs related to his life as a public servant. 

George L. McInturff (1907-1986)

A Chattanooga political and civic leader, George L. McInturff served as a city commissioner from 1946 -1967 and Chattanooga vice-mayor from 1963-1967.  He also worked as a member of the Chattanooga Housing Authority and as a consultant to the Downtown Development Committee.  His papers hold letters, speeches, photographs, and scrapbooks of his political career.  A Democrat, Mr. McInturff also kept a collection of decorative donkeys.   

Peter Rudolph Olgiati (1901-1989)

Rudy Olgiati came into politics from the construction business and gained the reputation as a “builder of the city.”  He worked as city commissioner from 1947-1951 and then as Chattanooga mayor from 1951-1963.  He enlarged the city airport; combined urban renewal with the new freeway system; developed the Golden Gateway project; and left a legacy of highways, bridges, and public works.  The library archives holds his correspondence, photographs, speeches, scrapbooks, programs, campaign materials, and newspaper clippings.  

Robert Kirk Walker (1925-2007) 

Walker carried out the duties of Chattanooga mayor from 1971-1975 but his actions and influence extended far beyond those years.  As mayor, Walker greatly enlarged Chattanooga’s population and geographic boundaries through annexation.  He was instrumental in merging the University of Chattanooga with the University of Tennessee.  He worked to develop Miller Park and to bring the Chattanooga Public Library downtown.  He served on the renovation committees of both the Tivoli Theatre and the Memorial Auditorium and founded the Leadership Chattanooga program.  Walker practiced law for over 50 years with the firm of Strang, Fletcher, Carriger, Walker, Hodge, and Smith, and was president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 1965, one of its youngest.  His donation to the archives includes his records created while mayor and many of his personal papers.  The collection contains letters, speeches, scrapbooks, photographs, awards, and newspaper clippings. 

David Y. Copeland, III (1931- )  

Like many others in this group, David Copeland succeeds as businessman, politician, and civic leader.  Copeland served 24 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives, beginning in 1968.  He pushed for tax reform and a balanced budget.  He served on the Education, Finance, Corrections, Pensions, Retirement, and Ways & Means Committees.  He founded the Taxpayers Coalition of Tennessee and was president of the Citizens Taxpayer Association of Hamilton County from 1982-1986.  In 1994, he ran for Tennessee governor.  His collection has speeches, newsletters, publications, artifacts, memoranda, campaign materials, and electronic records. 

Leslie Rogers Darr (1886-1967) 
Judge Darr spent his early years in Marion County as judge of the 18th Judicial District.  In 1939, he moved to Chattanooga after receiving an appointment as Federal Judge in the Eastern District.  His papers reflect both his personal and professional career and include photographs, letters, speeches, cards, degrees, and newspaper articles of his many cases.  Interesting cases include the McNabb moonshine trial in which a revenue agent was killed, and the trial of the “Robin Hood” bandit, James Francis Hill, who howled during his trial.


Pending Road/Lane Closures

There will be a lane shift at 1305 Dodson Ave. for installation of sidewalk ramps beginning Monday.   This project is scheduled to be completed on Friday.   Hours of operation each day are 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.   Traffic will be shifted and lanes narrowed to allow for the work to be done; motorists are advised to use caution when approaching and negotiating the work zone. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Bookseller Billy S. Arant, Jr. To Be Featured At Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Billy S. Arant, Jr., owner of Billy S. Arant, Jr. Bookseller in Chattanooga, will be among booksellers from all over the United States participating the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair on  March 13-15, at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg.  As part of the book fair’s theme of Modern Literature: the truth and beauty of fiction, Mr. Arant will feature a signed ... (click for more)

Appeals Court Rules Against WWTA In Lawsuit Brought By Apartment Complex Over $8 Monthly Charges To Units

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of an apartment complex that sued the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Authority (WWTA) over an $8 monthly charge per apartment unit for preparing private service laterals. The court overturned a granting of summary judgment in favor of WWTA by former Judge Jackie Bolton. The appeals court said American Heritage Apartments, ... (click for more)

Barrel Feared To Contain Hazardous Materials Safely Removed From Waterway At Short Tail Springs Road

A couple walking their dog on Sunday in the Highway 58 area called 911 reporting a strange barrel leaking a blue substance in the waterway. The barrel was later safely removed. The Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department responded around 2:30 p.m. to 7900 Short Tail Springs Road. Fire officials found a 55-gallon barrel in the waterway, but there were no visible signs of a blue ... (click for more)

It's Time To Insure Tennessee - And Response

Tennessee has a problem.  What is the value of saving the lives of 1,000 Tennesseans each year? That is exactly what can be expected if 176,000 Tennesseans gain health insurance through Insure Tennessee. A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that expansion of Medicaid was associated with a 6% reduction in yearly mortality for people in the 34-65 age group. Statistically, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Boots, Idiots & Guns

As the month of February was born this morning, allow me to hurriedly share three leftovers that were still in last month’s basket: * * * A first-grade teacher had endured a long day and was helping her students bundle up for the trip home when one of the little boys asked for help getting on his boots. Soon she could see why. Even with her pulling, and him pushing, the ... (click for more)